Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Hollywood actor turned winemaker Sam Neill wins two gold medals at International Wine Challenge 2014

Published:  07 May, 2014

Hollywood actor Sam Neill continues to build his reputation as a leading international winemaker by being awarded two Gold medals for the first time for wines produced from his Two Paddocks vineyard in Central Otago in New Zealand.

Sam NeillSam NeillActor Sam Neill, who makes wine at his Two Paddocks Vineyard in New Zealand, has won two gold medals at the International Wine Challenge 2014.

Neill, who has been making wine since 1993 when he first set up his Two Paddocks winery in a remote part of Central Otago, won Gold medals for his First Paddock Pinot Noir 2010, and the Last Chance Pinot Noir 2010. Both of which are distributed in the UK through Negociants with listings at leading merchants, including Reserve Wines, Lay & Wheeler, Hangingditch and Selfridges.

Charles Metcalfe, co-chairman of the IWC, said of Neill's breakthrough success at the competition: "Sam has truly demonstrated his star quality as a winemaker. These two exquisite Pinot Noirs from Two Paddocks hugely impressed the judges this year. New Zealand Pinots have been excellent this year, but these two examples really stood out. All our wines are tasted blind, so this win is based entirely on the quality of the wine."

In an interview with Harpers earlier this year, Neill spoke of his approach to winemaking: "I think wine is about personality and conversation. It's about falling in love and living life to the full. It's not an academic thing. You absolutely have to be rigorously disciplined within the confines of the winery. 

"What is infinitely fascinating to me is that you can have all the things in the formula right. You can have the right soil types, the right clones, the right climate, everything can be absolutely spot on...and you still produce crap wine. 

"There is a ghost in the machine somewhere. I know I sound like some sort of crazed hippy but, I think love has a lot to do with it. You have to love your land, you have to love your vines, and the people you work with have to have love." 

Neill criticised the pomposity that often surrounds wine and winemakers. "We are serious about the wine we make, but we refuse to be serious. There is so much bollocks and pretentiousness associated with wine - and it needs to stop." 

As for why he acquired the land which became Two Paddocks, Neill told Harpers: "We have planted all our vineyards. I have never bought a vineyard or anything like that; we have planted them all from scratch. It was based on two things. One, we looked at all the climate stats and we looked at soils, but most importantly I had to stand on the spot and think, 'I've got a nice feeling about where I am'."

  • For the full interview go to: Sam Neill (subscribers only).